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How is Marketing Your Business in RI
Different from EVERYWHERE Else?


20 June, 2014

Posted by John Niewiecki

How is Marketing Your Business in Rhode Island Different from EVERYWHERE Else?

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Let's face it - Rhode Island citizens are like no other people in the world. We have our own vernacular, our own style, our own attitude, and our own preferences. If a local business in the Ocean State wants to market and sell products and services, it helps to follow some sage advice.

First, the obvious Rhode Island is a small state.

I began my career decades ago in retail sales for a straight commission salary at Circuit City in Garden City Cranston. I can remember getting phone calls from folks asking if we had another store closer to their home. Considering the fact we had locations closer to those Rhode Islanders near the borders of Massachusetts and Connecticut, I would ask of course, "Where do you live?"

Often the answer was Warwick or another town close to Cranston, and one person making the inquiry actually lived in Cranston but was asking in hopes a bit shorter drive. Seriously. A shorter drive in Cranston, and from Warwick the next town over?

If a business is going to market its products and services, this mind-set should be a consideration in their product messaging and brand promise. Being in Rhode Island we are all local to each other, but that is not the perception. As a business working locally, consider a message that makes the trip, no matter how short it actually is, worth the effort.

Second, we Rhode Islanders talk.

Being a small state, word gets around and let's face it, we like to talk! We are also tough people hardened by the fierce winters, harsh summers, and tight-knit communities. Watch a family anywhere in Rhode Island long enough and soon you will see them around the dinner table eating, drinking, and talking for hours. Something that, without question, I cherish as so many of us do here in the Ocean State.

During these occasions oftentimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes we fight, and we always share stories of our day, week, and year. This includes, by no small extent, the good and bad news of our interactions with those we do business. We also trust what our family and friends say. This is the best opportunity to market your products when the discussion is favorable because such third party endorsements from a trusted resource is, without question, the best marketing one can achieve. Yet the bad news is that you are not present to relish in the goodwill or defend yourself from unfavorable sentiments.

Third, people in the Ocean State like what works.

Don't try to peddle your wares in RI with hopes that you can continue to sell a product for very long. Yet those products and services that adhere to their brand promise and are marketed well, stay. Forever it seems!

A few examples you may recall include: Haven Brothers, Wes' Rib House, Autocrat coffee syrup, Del's, and Casertas. These businesses and brands survived and some expanded nationally because they marketed and sold the products exactly as they could deliver.

If one reads my bio and information on this website you know I've lived throughout the United States and traveled all over the world. Having grown up in Massachusetts there is no question I love the Bay State. Yet as my years progress I realize I've lived as long in Rhode Island as I did in Massachusetts. Having graduated from University of Rhode Island, owned a home in both South Kingstown and now in Cumberland, rented an apartment in Cranston for a short time and for many years on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island is definitely my home.

I cherish this state and hope I can help you become one of those iconic businesses that lives in the hearts of all those in the Ocean State.


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